Can Proactive Efforts From CIOs Increase Visibility?

by Amit Tripathi    Jan 13, 2005

The contentious issue of CIO’s demand for more visibility in an organisation’s corporate landscape has brought out the other crucial question of their inclusion in the strategic business decision-making. However, the road to the corporate boardroom is strewn with obstacles; some obvious and others self-made.

In one of CXOtoday’s recent interaction with CIOs in Pune, what came out was a stark reminder of the fact that CIOs may still have a long way to traverse before getting their rightful place on the board.

Expressing his opinion, Rajendra Erande, corporate advisor-IT, Thermax, and chairperson of CIO club, Pune, said, “It was the emergence of ERP that imparted importance to CIOs in the corporate landscape. But CIOs gradually frittered that position due to their lack of interest in the core business of an enterprise.”

“Earlier generation CIOs and even a few of today’s generation, do not consider business to be their area of concern. The thought that bottom line and market share are only for the business strategists, is a flawed view,” asserted Erande.

Acknowledging that the gap between CEOs and CIOs does exist, Erande considers that the solution lies very much with the CIOs themselves. He suggests that CIOs should adopt many proactive policies to first get visibility in an enterprise landscape.

He questions, “Why don’t we hear of atleast yearly (leave alone quarterly or half-yearly) IT conference of an enterprise similar on the lines of, say, the quarterly sales conference or of some other department of an enterprise.” According to Erande, such kind of events can surely help the board to realize how IT essays a pivotal role in the growth of business and expansion of customer base.

In fact, Erande has pioneered such IT events in Thermax itself and he gives credit to his senior management who gave the consent for this. In addition to that, slots are booked in other departmental events for IT presentations, discussing how technology has supported the objective of the concerned department.

N. Vijaykumar, general manager (IT), Forbes Marshall, and who has worked for a long time in the IT department of the enterprise, says, “At our enterprise the top management has always attached significance to the IT function since its inception and it has never been relegated as the corner room. All major IT decisions are business driven and the management seeks the involvement of the heads of IT directly or indirectly in the strategic decision making.”

But inspite of the recognition, Vijaykumar does his bit meticulously. For example, he says, “Since the last three years when we first purchased Oracle Apps, we have been regularly conducting weekly meetings with all the departments to know what improvements can be incorporated as per the needs of the organization.”

Efforts such as the above mentioned are a case in point for CIOs and IT departments to get adequate visibility in an enterprise.

Tags: CIOs